“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Tribulation is defined as a pressing, pressing together, pressure. It also means to crowd. In other places in the New Testament, you’ll find other words used such as afflictions, afflicted, trouble, anguish, burdened and persecutions. All of these words mean the same thing—tribulation. In our day, it simply means we’re “going through” in varying degrees. Have you ever asked someone how they’re doing? If they’re honest they may say, “Girl, I’m going through. So much is happening in my life. I’m going through on my job. I’m going through in my marriage. I’m going through with my teenagers and in my finances.” When we hear this we know exactly what they mean, because every single one of us are going through something! But I believe the thing God wants us to focus on is even though we all are going through, our position should be to be of good cheer. Now, I know you’re probably thinking, “Nothing about my situation makes me happy or cheerful!”
But what does the Bible mean by “good cheer”? The word cheer in this text simply means to have courage or to be deeply encouraged. Where else do we see Jesus saying “be of good cheer”? We find Him telling the man sick of the palsy and lying in his bed, “Be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven”. Then He told him to take up his bed and walk (see Matthew 9:2). We also find Him telling the disciples when He came walking on the sea during a storm, “Be of good cheer, it is I, be not afraid” (see Matthew 14:27). Another instance was while comforting the apostle Paul. It says the Lord stood by Him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul” (see Acts 23:11).
Focusing on what you’re going through can make you not want to do anything pertaining to God. You’ll stop wanting to read your Bible, pray or go to church. I’ve been there. Instead, let’s take courage! Don’t stop doing all of the things you know you need to be doing. Don’t put down your sword and don’t lay down your shield. Be encouraged, my sister, Jesus has overcome the world! You will overcome too!
Prayer: Father God, I receive your words in my heart. Help me understand this truth more deeply. Help me Lord to take courage. Help me not to lay down my sword or my shield. Help me Lord to focus not on what I’m going through, but the truth of your word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.